Catching some Z’s: Why Sleep is Important

iStock_000000479476XSmallI don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a lot of my nights seem to be getting shorter and shorter as time goes by. It seems like as soon as I fall asleep, it’s time to get back up and start a brand new day.

Most days, I’m excited to get up! But some days, it doesn’t feel like I’ve gotten enough rest. Sometimes I hit that snooze button to catch just a few more minutes of sleep before headed out.

Sound familiar? If you’re like nearly half of the US population, it might. A study by Gallup recently discovered that around 40% of all Americans aren’t getting a healthy amount of sleep. This means there’s a lot of drowsy people out there.

Sleep is VERY important when it comes to your health. Without it, we run out of energy, and our brains just can’t keep up with the world around us. Check out a few reasons why you need your beauty sleep:

Sleeping recharges your Brain – Have you ever had one of those days were you just can’t seem to focus? Or maybe you are presented with a problem, and you just can’t fathom how to even begin finding a solution. Sleep deprevation directly affects cognitive processing and decision making, meaning your brain is going to have to work extra hard just to keep up the more sleep you lose.

Sleep Helps your Emotions – Just like brainpower, your emotional well being is directly affected by the amount of sleep you get. You may notice that the more tired you are, the less patient and more irritable you become. Getting a good nights sleep allows your brain to reset and prepare for the coming day.

Sleeping fights Heart Disease – Your sleep is directly involved with repairs constantly being made to your heart and blood vessels. This means that the more time you have counting sheep, the more time your body has to make repairs. The less sleep you get, the higher risk you are to heart disease.

Sleep helps the Immune System – Your immune system responds to foreign dangers that your body encounters on a daily basis, keeping you free from the common cold and other ailments. When your sleep pattern changes, your immune system will start to react differently, making you more susceptible to these ailments.

Sleepiness makes you Hungry – Your sleep pattern helps maintain the hormones found in your body, which includes the hormones that tell your brain whether you’re hungry or full. The more sleep you get, the better blanced these hormones are, which means you’re going to be less hungry the more you sleep.

Do yourself a favor tonight: Go to bed an hour earlier than usual! Your body will thank you for it, and you will feel much better rested when morning comes!

Time Waste: The biggest culprit at the gym.

watchHow much is your time worth to you? Is that even something you can put a price tag on?

Well if you’re a lawyer, the answer is definitely a yes, but think abstractly with me for a minute. What is your time, those limited number of hours in the day, really worth to you?

Let me tell you something about my time at large corporate gym. When I was working out with clients, I noticed something about a large percentage of people who weren’t taking advantage of a personal trainer: there was a huge amount of time being wasted. Many gym goers were sitting at a machine, talking on their phone, searching for something on their iPod, or just staring into space. I even saw one or two people reading a book while sitting at a machine.

What gives? Are you at the gym to work out? Or are you at the gym to enjoy the ambiance?

If you’re looking for a place to relax, I can give you a dozen places in Vancouver that are much, much more comfortable. There are parks, libraries, coffee shops… all of these places have more comfortable chairs and much more scenic locations than a gym. And lets be honest, large corporate gyms are one of the last places we want to spend more time than necessary.

You might be thinking “Well what am I supposed to do when I’m between sets?” And in some cases, you’re right. There’s usually a brief time to cool down. But many people seem to stick to the same machine MUCH longer than you need for a rest period.

Wasting time doesn’t happen at Boomer Fitness. I know this because we don’t allow our clients to waste time – It doesn’t benefit you! You’re here to get a great workout and enjoy yourself as you do it! Not to sit at a weight machine reading Pride and Prejudice (A personal favorite of mine, I might add)

So how much is your time worth to you? Lets do some basic math before you answer. If you work out with someone at Boomer Fitness twice a week, you’re going to get 100 minutes of non-stop solid workout time. Now lets say you go to a large corporate gym on the same schedule, and you get distracted for, say, 20 percent of your time there. You’re only going to get a 40 minute workout each time you go in, which means you’re going to get even less results.

You might think “40 minutes isn’t a bad amount of time. That’s still a lot better than most people, right?” But 20 percent is EXTREMELY conservative for time waste. In fact, Harpers Fitness recently discovered that most gym goers are only using 39% of their time at the gym for actual fitness.

That’s less than 24 minutes of time for a 60 minute workout. Less than 20 for a 50 minute workout like you find at Boomer Fitness. So let me ask you again: How much is your time worth to you?

Look at it this way: When you work out at Boomer Fitness, you’re going to spend a solid 50 minutes working your butt off: Literally! When you go to a corporate gym without a personal trainer, you’re not going to have that personal set of eyes watching your every move. And like it or not, you’re going to get distracted by your phone, your ipod, or your own mind, which means you’re just not going to get the same kind of workout in the same time.

Don’t waste your time. Come see how to use your time efficiently at Boomer Fitness!

You only count the good ones!

If you have worked out with me, you may have noticed something about my counting. We’ll be in the middle of a workout, you’re sweating up a storm, and we are on a roll! We finish a set of lunges, I give you a high five, and we move on to the dumbbell curls.

So you start lifting your weights like the champ you are, and I’m making sure you’re lifting the weights correctly. You might notice that I don’t count one of your lifts. You think maybe I let one slide to try to push you, and you keep going.

Four more lifts later, and  I seem to only have counted three of them.

“What’s the deal?” That’s what one of my clients Len said last week. He could swear that he did his complete set, but I was only counting about 3/4ths of them. Was I trying to push him farther than normal?

Well, yes and no.

Let me clear something up for you: I know how to count. They don’t exactly let you into the Air Force without that prerequisite, and they certainly won’t give you a personal fitness certification if you don’t know how to do basic math. So why do I seem to lose a few of your sets when you’re working your butt off?

When it comes to fitness, you don’t cut corners. You can’t afford to, not when taking half measures can sabotage your fitness goals or even cause real harm to your body. You either go all the way, or you don’t go at all. You either do a full set of an exercise the right way, or you’re not going to make progress.

So how does this tie back in to Len’s workout? Well, as you get tired, your body is going to start trying to cut corners to use less energy. Even the best of gym members can’t help it – your body is simply hardwired to save energy. So when Len starts to get tired, his body is going to try to complete a “set” by whatever means necessary.

This can be a recipe for disaster if left unchecked. Working out incorrectly can do more harm than good. Think about it: If you’re doing deadlifts, you want to lift with the right muscles: Your legs, your, arms, and your core. Taking a half measure and lifting with your back can cause some serious damage. And as your body gets tired, you are going to be more likely to make mistakes like that.

So what was happening with Len and my counting issues? It’s because I only count the good ones. Doing a set incorrectly isn’t making progress; it’s causing more harm than good! So when a client start lifting incorrectly, we do one of two things: We correct the problem, or we stop the exercise and do something else.

Don’t think I’ll let you do more harm than good: Len has been a client of mine for a long time, and he knows when he’s doing a good set or not. I will tell you immediately when I see you doing a set incorrectly because I care about your progress. And I certainly don’t want you to hurt yourself at the gym.

No half measures. No shortcuts. We go all the way, because that’s the only way!

What Makes a Great Gym? Part I

10420366_800561496659196_5160659795092338580_n“What makes a great gym?” Is it the equipment? The location? The atmosphere?

It’s a question I used to ask myself when I was starting Boomer Fitness. When I was planning this program, I wanted to make sure that my ideal gym had all the best traits you could ask for. Sometimes, I still find myself asking the same question when I’m reviewing my progress over the last few years. I love Boomer Fitness, and I know it’s got some of the best features you could find in any gym out there. But I still like to ask myself: What really makes a Great Gym?

When I ask clients about why they join a gym, I usually get a few variations of the same handful of answers. “It has some great equipment that I don’t have at home.” “It’s really close to where I work.” “My friends go to that gym, and I figured I would do the same.”

All perfectly valid reasons to go to the gym, but it just doesn’t seem like the right kind of answer. Most gyms have comparable equipment, and a lot of people seem to go out of their way to get to a particular gym. So what really makes a gym a place you want to go back to?

To discover what’s in a great gym, we actually have to ask another question: What do you want to get out of your gym? I break that question down into two answers: Time Well Spent and Time Enjoyed.

Time Well Spent – Let’s face it, when you’re going to be spending a lot of time working out, you want to be spending the right kind of time there. I have said time and time again that fitness is a long-term process, and not something that you can get results in with half-hearted effort. You have to give it your all, 100% of the time. That means a lot of dedicated hours at a gym.

So why would you want to go to a place where you feel like your time is being wasted? Heading to a gym and getting nothing done is like going to a Packers Game and playing angry birds on your phone. But so many times when I worked at a larger gym, I would see people who weren’t using their gym time to its fullest.

It’s game time when you’re at the gym! Use it to your full advantage!

Time Enjoyed –  It’s a lot easier to go to the gym to work out if you’re looking forward to your time there, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. One of my clients has told me that in the past, the hardest part about going to a gym was resolving herself to get out the door. Going to work out wasn’t something she necessarily enjoyed; it was a chore that she had to do.

Sure, it’s a workout, and it’s probably going to push your physical condition. But that doesn’t mean you have to dread going to the gym! You want to enjoy the time that you spend at the gym because you will be more willing to back to the gym. Turn the idea of ” I could go to the gym” to “I get to go to the gym,” and you’re going to find you’re spending a lot more time working your muscles.

It’s not rocket science. When you go to the gym, you want to spend your time working on relevant parts of your body, but you also want to enjoy yourself while you do it. But like a lot of things in life, this might sound easier said than done. What do you factor in when you’re signing up for a gym to make sure you hit these two marks?

To me, both of these points can be attained by making sure your gym has one key factor: the right kind of community. This ranges from the personal trainers to the people you work out with, from the group work out sessions to the individual one-on-one meetings we have. It differs from person to person, but having the right type of community that fits your work-out style is the difference between having an average gym an a Great Gym.

So how do you find that kind of community? Where do you start to look for the right kind of atmosphere that will help you be your best at the gym?

Be sure to check in with my blog on Thursday to find out!